Religion, gender, and the Virgin Mary

Freda Harcourt

in Victorians and the Virgin Mary

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077531
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700709 | DOI:
Religion, gender, and the Virgin Mary

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The growth in the number and prominence of Roman Catholics in Victorian England from the beginning 1830s caused public invocations of the Virgin Mary. One aspect of this was a greater willingness to appropriate the Virgin Mary as a symbol of a dangerous and foreign religion. Religious tensions were not, however, the only reason why the Virgin Mary became a controversial figure. Discussions about the Virgin Mary, especially in her role as the mother of Jesus, were a way for Victorians to articulate what characteristics were essentially feminine and which were reserved for the masculine. In recent years the rise of feminism has affected representations of the Virgin Mary: Mary also provided a justification for female priests. Historians usually define Victorian Christianity in terms of a division between the Protestant majority and an occasionally problematical Roman Catholic minority.

Keywords: Roman Catholics; foreign religion; religious tensions; Victorian England; female priests; Victorian Christianity

Chapter.  15171 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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